CEOs losing faith in internal events, says report

Almost half of CEOs see internal events as a cost rather than an investment, according to the directors that work for them.

That’s one of the key findings of new research amongst event managers and directors at FTSE 250 organisations and UK multinationals, commissioned by communications agency Involve.

The research found that internal events are used to influence ‘business critical’ measures, such as employee engagement (84%) and revenue/profit (81%). However, directors believe that only half of CEOs (51%) see internal events as an investment compared to almost two thirds of employees (67%).  

CEO’s in low-spend organisations (those that spend between £100,000 to £250,000 a year on internal events, as defined by respondents) see events as more of an investment than those in high spend organisations (with spend of £250,000 to £1m a year.)  

Although events are used to influence ‘business critical’ measures, corporates are not consistently measuring whether they are achieving goals. Only 54% of directors claim to measure the ROI extremely or very robustly. However, event managers claim to measure ROI more, with 62% saying they do so extremely or very robustly.

Jeremy Starling, Managing Director of Involve, said: "There is a clear disconnect between the CEO’s view of internal events and the views of the rest of the company.

"A prime cause of this has to be a lack of proof that internal events are delivering long-term behavioural change or hitting other indicators of success. The long-term growth of this industry depends on securing buy-in from CEOs across the board.

"Using robust measurements to track ROI is vital to determine whether internal events are truly effective and successfully delivering against an organisation’s ‘business critical’ goals."

Other key findings from the report

The report also found that the average corporate is spending £370,000 a year on internal events, while more than one in ten spends more than double that amount. 

In the last two to three years, the average company spent approximately £100,000 on each event, whereas high spend companies were not spending much more but were holding more events.

In addition to this, 65% of high spending companies spend at least 30% of their budget on external agencies compared to 43% of companies spending 51% or more and 7% spending 100%.

The corporates interviewed in the report stated that the key attribute they look for in an external agency is trust and reliability – trumping price, size of business and creativity significantly.

The Involve Insight 2014 survey spoke to 199 HR, marketing and communications directors in large corporates who are responsible for – or significantly involved in – the management of big internal conferences and events. It also spoke to 100 events managers in large corporates. Respondents had an internal events budget of over £100,000 excluding venue costs.

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